Military Review

“490A Object”: two versions of one promising tank

В stories The tank building of the eighties was a period of active search for new unusual layout and constructive solutions. A lot of interesting ideas were then proposed and worked out by the Kharkov Design Bureau of Mechanical Engineering (HKBM). Some of them were implemented in two versions of the 490A or Rebel project. However, both versions of the project have not left the early stages.

“490A Object”: two versions of one promising tank
One of the few photos of the running layout MBT "490М"

Parallel projects

Since the late seventies, HCBM has been working on the MBT project with the code “Object 490”. Already known ideas developed in it and new ones were proposed. In parallel, a tank was developed with the “490A” index and the name “Rebel”. This project also included bold decisions, but some proposals with dubious prospects were refused.

In particular, the 490 MBT provided for a reduction of the crew to two people with the corresponding restructuring of electronics and other equipment. The 490A project abandoned this and retained the third tanker. The rest of the project was no less bold and also included the use of uncharacteristic solutions.

The design and subsequent testing of the two types of MBT should have taken several years. At the beginning of the nineties, the issue of adopting equipment for armament could already be decided. However, the work on the “490A Object” was delayed - after testing the first prototype, it was decided to substantially alter the project.

First version

In 1982, HCMB completed the preparation of documentation for the first version of "Rebel." In accordance with it, a wooden model was built. Soon there was a running layout, and then a full-fledged prototype designed for comprehensive testing.

View of the other side

The “490A Object” received a building of a traditional layout with a carriage-type tower. The commander and gunner were located below the level of the roof of the hull, which allowed to reduce the dimensions of the tower. In the bow of the hull, behind a powerful frontal barrier, the control compartment and the fuel tank were placed. The right half of the fighting compartment was occupied by automatic loading.

The basic one weapons The “rebel” was to be the 125-mm smoothbore gun, which is a further development option for the serial product 2А46. The gun received remote control and was equipped with automatic loading. Separate loading shots were located in a mechanized installation inside the fighting compartment. The mechanisms were responsible for their extraction, lifting to the gun and chambering.

In order to increase ammunition, various proposals were worked out. A new styling of the automatic loading device of the most dense layout was created. The concept of the so-called charge of a variable form. She proposed the rejection of a rigid shell with a charge, the role of which was assigned to a soft cap. A flexible cap could change shape when loading into a styling or when being sent to the chamber, which made it possible to optimize the use of available volumes.

The placement of the crew inside the hull under the tower made special demands on the surveillance equipment and fire control system. It was proposed to equip MBT with the necessary viewing and sighting devices built using optical fiber. The fiber made it possible to simplify the design of surveillance tools, reduce the projection of viewing instruments, and also ensure their optimal placement without dead zones.

Branch layout tank

490A successfully reached the stage of construction and prototype testing. In 1983-84 the prototype was tested at the test site and made conclusions. Some technical solutions were approved, while others needed further elaboration. In addition, updated requirements were now imposed on MBT, which resulted in a substantial revision of the project.

Second version

The increase in firepower of the upgraded 125-mm guns was considered insufficient for a guaranteed solution to combat missions. In this regard, the second version of the “490A Object” was rebuilt for a more powerful 152-mm smoothbore gun. The use of a new gun entailed the restructuring of the fighting compartment. Other adjustments were also made related to the results of past tests.

The layout of the car as a whole remained the same, but the fighting compartment was seriously remade. The gun remained in the remote installation, and under it were now located automatic loader devices. Places commander and gunner placed at the sides of the compartment - on the sides of the automation.

Mechanized styling for shellless shots with a mill was in the front and rear of the compartment. A ring conveyor passed under them and under the tankers' places. At the rear of the tower, a lift was provided for delivering shots to the cannon. For all its complexity and large volume, the proposed automatic loader contained 40 shots.

From the point of view of the FCS, the new 490A tank was seriously different from the old one. Optical fiber did not perform well in tests, and it was replaced with standard instruments and television devices. The composition of the on-board electronics was proposed to introduce the equipment of the active protection complex. Its radar was to be mounted on the sides of the tower, automatic control - inside the tank.

The updated project “Rebel” was ready in 1984. It was possible to build mock-ups and a prototype, conduct tests and draw conclusions. But none of this happened. Tests of the previous prototype showed the presence of some unresolved problems. The new project also had flaws. As a result of this, the development of MBT was soon seriously revised, and the 490A project had to be closed.

Excessive courage

The development of the 490A Facility faced a number of characteristic problems directly related to new bold technical solutions. Some new components performed poorly in testing, while others needed to be developed and developed for a long time. All this predetermined the fate of the project.

While the "Rebel" was planned to equip the 125-mm gun of increased power, the main tasks and problems were associated with the automatic loader. The proposal to switch to a large caliber with a fundamentally new shot led to new difficulties. It turned out that the creation of a shot from the mill, suitable for use in practice, is an extremely difficult task.

Until the end of the development of such ammunition, all work on the 152-mm gun did not make much sense. Moreover, by the mid-eighties, the idea of ​​the mill was abandoned and returned to the developed principles of loading.

The optical fiber in the observation and aiming devices did not justify itself. Existing and accessible materials did not provide the required resolution of the optics and reduced its real efficiency. The lack of prospects in this direction led to the use of “traditional” optics in the second version of the “490A Object”.

Placement of units in the first version of the project

To this was added the need to improve protection, develop new fire control devices, improve the power plant, etc. Thus, with all the visible advantages and prospects, the new MBT turned out to be too complicated to develop - and later difficult in construction.

Growth for the future

Further development of the 490A project was considered inappropriate. As proposed, the second version of the project had a number of shortcomings, the elimination of which required too much effort. In this regard, they decided to abandon the rebel refinement and launch a new project that takes into account the experience gained.

Already in 1984, work began on a new main tank with the “477” index and the name “Boxer”. Separate features, he resembled the "Rebel", but otherwise was an independent development. It also used new original constructive ideas of various kinds.

By this time, in the framework of the 490A project, only a prototype and an experimental tank had been built, which were tested in the 1983-84. After the start of development of the second version of the “490A Object”, this technique remained out of work. She was transferred to storage without prospects for a return to work. According to various sources, the running layout still exists, but in the past it was dismantled. Now an interesting product is a miserable sight.

Nevertheless, this machine at one time did an important job and showed the real prospects of various technical solutions. Such findings allowed us to adjust new projects. However, a completely new era was on the horizon, and most of the developments on the “490A Object” simply disappeared.
Photos used:,

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  1. Thrifty
    Thrifty 4 November 2019 06: 40
    Cyril, you write interestingly, but your main trouble is you often repeat yourself! You need to change the style a little, as well as develop the topic more, write more fully!
    1. mvg
      mvg 4 November 2019 19: 31
      you often repeat

      It does not repeat itself, but simply "copies and pastes" different articles. And then he doesn't even read! material. Not a single author's thought, only "copy". Sometimes the whole paragraph in the text. And after a couple of years, it is easy to slip the previous material, slightly "straightening" it.
      Worst "author" on topvar.
  2. svp67
    svp67 4 November 2019 07: 26
    Yes, yes ... they drove these "byaks" around our range to the headmistress and back, and at that time they drove us from the range into the cordon so that they wouldn't see anything superfluous ...
  3. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 4 November 2019 08: 14
    Thanks. Interesting, interesting and ... alas, a little sad ...
  4. silberwolf88
    silberwolf88 4 November 2019 10: 58
    any ideas and promising projects are a move forward in the development of military thought ... yes ... the project did not become anything ... but we can’t say for sure which of the R&D developments were included in other projects and how was used in testing and during designing material ...
  5. bk0010
    bk0010 4 November 2019 11: 39
    The ZIF would be deciphered ... The charge of the Variable F ...?
    1. Nikolaevich I
      Nikolaevich I 4 November 2019 12: 46
      Quote: bk0010
      The ZIF would be deciphered ... The charge of the Variable F ...?

      Mil cholovik! Duc, decrypted In order to increase ammunition, various proposals were worked out. A new styling of the automatic loading device of the most dense layout was created. The concept of the so-called variable charge. She proposed the rejection of a rigid shell with a charge, the role of which was assigned to a soft cap. A flexible cap could change shape when loading into a styling or when being sent to the chamber, which made it possible to optimize the use of available volumes.
      1. bk0010
        bk0010 4 November 2019 12: 51
        Immediately not doper, thanks.
  6. Vladimir_2U
    Vladimir_2U 4 November 2019 15: 01
    Interestingly, I learned about the mill for the first time, deliriously in my opinion, the density of the combat unit will increase slightly, but the hemorrhagic pressure will increase sharply. (in my opinion of course). WMS seems to be both more realistic and simply preferable.
  7. Basarev
    Basarev 4 November 2019 18: 42
    But in fact, the old oaks from the command were intolerant of any innovations. Like many here - for them AKM is only faithful and holy, and everything else is heresy. But the Americans did not give up - in spite of all the difficulties and costs, they brought Abrams to the series, after which the seventy-two Hussein was fervently stitched.
    1. ddmm09
      ddmm09 6 November 2019 05: 55
      The Iraqi armored vehicles were mostly destroyed not by Abrams tanks. There were almost no direct tank clashes.
      1. Basarev
        Basarev 6 November 2019 08: 17
        This does not change the essence. The main thing is that the Americans were not afraid of difficulties and costs. And with us - everything that is more expensive than standing on the arsenal of ancient rubbish is immediately cut off. I always said: the army is terribly expensive. But these expenses must be borne, if only for the sake of national prestige. After all, it has already come to the point that no one is afraid of us, there is a clear understanding that we can’t stand a purely conventional war, all hope is only on a nuclear shield ... But it doesn’t scare too much when Sagan’s horror stories are exposed and it became clear: power nuclear weapons are greatly exaggerated. There will be no split of the planet, destruction of the biosphere, death of humanity and the new Stone Age. There will be no nuclear winter and radiation wasteland glowing with radiation, where only cockroaches live. Not so much will burn and soot will not be gigatons, the dust raised in the first weeks will be washed by the rains, but the radiation ... The most evil isotopes decay faster than anyone else - again in a matter of weeks, according to the rule of seven to ten. They will tell me about Hiroshima - I will answer: the current ammunition is not the same, the current is much cleaner. In the Hiroshima bomb, a very small part of the substance reacted, the main composition was simply scattered by an explosion. But even so, the city was quickly deactivated, now a thriving metropolis is in that place. In general, nuclear weapons are not at all as terrible as propagandists draw them. I know that they’ll curse me for such words, but this will only confirm my main idea: when speaking about the horrors of the atomic war, you are not speaking your words, you are simply repeating the speeches of the propagandists. The Soviet leadership needed atomic psychosis, because people in fear were much easier to manage.
        1. Ehanatone
          Ehanatone 11 November 2019 02: 38
          "the leadership needed an atomic psychosis, because people in fear are much easier to manage"
          Thank you for the detailed explanation of shnyaga about nuclear winter - this is especially true today, when the level of confrontation in the field of nuclear weapons has decreased tenfold!
  8. Saxahorse
    Saxahorse 4 November 2019 21: 54
    A damn interesting layout! Did you notice that this tank actually has a cannon on the roof of the turret? On the one hand, this makes it possible to make a gun with a very large recoil, which compensates for the huge power of the 6 "guns, on the other hand, it sharply increases the survivability of the vehicle. The crew is maximally sheltered from enemy fire.

    Not the first time takes annoyance! What T-95 what is this smart machine, that's what our new tank was supposed to be! And not the clumsy squalor of Armat .. Once again I am convinced that the money we give is not given to those who work better, but to those who are more lobbying sad
    1. Vladimir_2U
      Vladimir_2U 5 November 2019 05: 28
      You got excited, the fundamental difference between the T-95 and Almaty is one: in the placement of the crew. And the survival (theoretically) of the crew of Almaty is higher, because it is isolated from BC and fuel and even various oils (which is not a trifle) by a powerful bulkhead. By the way, low-profile uninhabited, but judging by the mask of the gun, with full reservation, the tower of Almaty will provide a clearly greater survivability of the gun. By the way, from the standpoint of confronting the warheads, the placement of the crew of Almaty is much better.
      1. Bad_gr
        Bad_gr 6 November 2019 17: 51
        Quote: Vladimir_2U
        You got excited, the fundamental difference between the T-95 and Almaty is one: in the placement of the crew.

        At T-95 and T-14, the crew sits identically, in a capsule, in front of the tank.
        But at the Omsk object-640 (Black Eagle), the crew was located in the same way as at the Kharkov "Rebel", below the turret ring:
        1. Vladimir_2U
          Vladimir_2U 7 November 2019 07: 06
          Yes, you’re right, I read Saxahorse’s comment inattentively, he wrote about the t-95 and the 490a, but I dumped everything in a heap, But still, calling Armata clumsy, he got excited, on the 490th she definitely surpasses the survivability of the crew and guns. But sticking a 152 mm cannon onto the seven-wheeled chassis is probably relatively easy.
          1. Ehanatone
            Ehanatone 11 November 2019 02: 43
            "And sticking a 152 mm cannon on a seven-roller chassis is probably relatively easy."
            What they still can not stick nicknames ...
            1. Vladimir_2U
              Vladimir_2U 11 November 2019 03: 19
              Immediately "bourgeois")) an argument against the urgent placement of 152 mm: while different t-90 mods are going well and it would be nice to sell them, and 152 sharply reduces their value, so even in my opinion (and I'm still a supporter of big guns)) ) is worth holding back. Yes, absolutely there are drawings and almost certainly a prototype, or even more than one.
              1. Ehanatone
                Ehanatone 11 November 2019 03: 24
                Maybe, maybe, but there the ammunition will decrease, and maybe the automatic loader will need to be redone probably .. and maybe even the tower, and something else about the additional ice rink!
                And of course yes, yes ...
                1. Vladimir_2U
                  Vladimir_2U 11 November 2019 03: 35
                  No, well, 8 skating rinks on board are obviously overkill, but 125 mm on seven looks like a heap, 152 just right, but considerations, considerations ...
                  1. Ehanatone
                    Ehanatone 11 November 2019 03: 41
                    "No, well, 8 skating rinks on board are clearly too much"
                    And that is already 7, but I still thought that there were 6 more! ... fellow
                    Well then, yes - I repent, got excited, got excited !! ... laughing
              2. KrokodilGena
                KrokodilGena 6 January 2020 23: 30
                Quote: Vladimir_2U
                it is worth holding it.

                It is known that the NATO cannon, the German Px120, which already turned out to be good, was able to "power up" another 20% and, in combination with modern BOPSanis, it is much more effective than the 2A46 and its descendants, especially at distances of 2,5 km +, since due to the peculiarities of domestic BOPSs, they lose 2 times faster speed, for every 100 m, at distances closer to 3 km, penetration decreases dramatically, while NATO tank crews can also make holes in T-4 or T-72 for 90 km. I compare what is in service, take 1500 of the most militant Russian and 1500 NATO, if tomorrow there is a war, who will advance with what. It will be difficult to use missile weapons, given the level and variety of defenses of NATO tanks. Not least thanks to KAZ, which already exists in the west and is being integrated on the sly. Another factor is the 2mm gun with AZ from the Germans, ready for mass production and integration into the towers of Leo140, Leclerc, Abrams, lying oily, waiting in the wings, in case the Px120 is not enough, it gives a 50% increase. Remains the 152mm gun for the T-90 and Armata, this is certainly not a sawn-off gun from a howitzer, but a barrel created from scratch should be. But how much the Soviet 152mm barrels have been brought to mind and how combat-ready they are today and are there any combat-ready at the moment, including the line of ammunition tanks, ready for mass production. If there is also an MSA, stabilization, both fluff and chassis during firing, optics, take into account, then at the moment tank duels against NATO colleagues are contraindicated, without 152mm.
    2. Sergey_G_M
      Sergey_G_M 7 November 2019 09: 42
      And why do you consider yourself smarter than the developers of Almaty? Do you think they did not know and did not evaluate the T-95 and other previous projects?
      Such comments are often perplexing to me and are sometimes stupid - well, HOW? !! AS?!! can people consider themselves smarter than entire large design bureaus with a history and experience in creating their products.
      I am almost sure that you are not familiar with TK in Armata, and how did you manage to conclude that one tank is better than another? Here's how you do it? Amazing !!
      1. Saxahorse
        Saxahorse 7 November 2019 21: 43
        Quote: Sergey_G_M
        Here's how you do it? Amazing !!

        It is surprising when, despite the resistance of the military, who were spitting from the T-14 to the end, the army was still forced to adopt the Armata into service. I suspect that all these noisy companies about "no analogues" are intended only for this. To force the army to buy obviously unnecessary, flawed equipment.
        1. Sergey_G_M
          Sergey_G_M 8 November 2019 02: 42
          Do you know that the military themselves write technical specifications?
          (Well, this is good, mostly developers write TK and only then coordinate and finish it with the military)
        2. Vladimir_2U
          Vladimir_2U 11 November 2019 03: 28
          For the first time I hear about the resistance of the military to Armata, and military tests of a limited series have not yet been adopted. And yes, Armata has no serial analogues in the world, and possibly the Universe! )))
          Quote: Saxahorse
          To force the army to buy obviously unnecessary, defective equipment

          Since when the army has become an independent buyer, the government collects and approves the budget, whatever it is.
      2. Ehanatone
        Ehanatone 11 November 2019 02: 54
        "HOW? !! HOW? !! can people consider themselves smarter than whole big KB"
        This is a separate issue, ...
        But the birth of Almaty is a product of the willful decision of the new director - before that it was t95, and before completion it was only a few million rubles ...
        and billions have already been spent on rebar, and what else to spend and spend to bring to mind, if anything happens! ...
        1. Sergey_G_M
          Sergey_G_M 11 November 2019 08: 22
          There is a military acceptance at the enterprise which is aware of everything that is happening at the enterprise; therefore, this strong-willed decision, which it was not good, should not be seriously justified, both before the VP and the customer.
          And it seems to me that you overestimate the degree of readiness of the T95 and it is not yet clear how much it would bring.
  9. Eug
    Eug 20 December 2019 07: 45
    And injection of liquid propellant was not considered as a charge? From the side it’s very promising, it seems like a lot of interesting options appear right away .. but there are certainly disadvantages, otherwise they would have been used long ago.